As this saga continues, Councillor Joanna Biddolph reports on the latest round in the battle between one JC Decaux advertising hoarding and the Great Marlborough Estates’ multi-million pound regeneration of Empire House and stretch of Chiswick High Road opposite Turnham Green.
It’s unsightly. It blocks the view of our historic Chiswick High Road. Its benefit to residents is debatable. It impedes walking along the pavement, forcing people in wheelchairs into the road as they can’t squeeze past between it and the safety hoarding around the development of Empire House. And, in a pandemic calling for social distancing, it’s in the way. But it brings in advertising revenue for JC Decaux.
Chiswick residents and businesses have a history of objecting to advertising hoardings especially those masquerading as community benefits (telephone boxes providing free broadband was one recent iteration, offered without any evidence of a demand for phone boxes). When a digital advertising hoarding outside Empire House on Chiswick High Road was upgraded and, with the upgrade, increased in size it became even more intrusive than before. This was made starkly obvious when it impeded walking safely along this stretch of Chiswick High Road, as social distancing demanded a 2m gap between passers by – and when a wheelchair user was forced into the road to manoeuvre past it.
Removing the hoarding, at least until social distancing was over or the Empire House development had been completed, was the obvious step to take and Jo made that request to Hounslow council’s planning department. She also explained the situation to Great Marlborough Estates, the owners of Empire House, stressing that the objection was to the digital hoarding, not the safety hoarding around the development.
But, no. Who won in the battle of the JC Decaux hoarding v the Great Marlborough Estates’ multi-million pound redevelopment of Empire house and regeneration of this section of Chiswick High Road? The JC Decaux digital hoarding.
The photos below tell the story. (Glad to see the message on the hoarding is so pertinent to Chiswick – with two independent butchers, Macken Brothers and Wyndham’s, to buy or order from during lockdown, and the Beunos Aires Argentine Steakhouse as well as steak, frites and a glass of wine specials at Le Vacherin in normal times).